Drowning Prevention Week is the national campaign from the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and will run between 16 – 26 June 2017
One person drowns every 20 hours in the UK and hundreds more suffer life changing injuries through near drowning.
By spreading water safety advice far and wide, Drowning Prevention Week aims to teach people how to be safe near water.
The campaign encourages schools, clubs, leisure centres and communities to promote water safety through events, lessons, games and activities in a bid to make people more aware of the dangers of water.
If saving human lives is the great desideratum, then there is more to be gained by the prevention of drowning, and auto wrecks than by the abolition of warBrian Heyes
Learn and follow the SAFE code
It is designed to be simple enough for children to learn and understand but it is just as relevant to adults.
When visiting the beach... Know your flags
Flags are placed to advise of dangers and indicate safe swimming areas.
Red Flags - Mean danger, no swimming under any circumstances. You may not be able to see the danger, but it's there! Be careful not to fall in to the water accidentally. Many drownings happen to people who never intended to be in the water.
Red & Yellow Flags - These are put out by lifeguards. The indicate an area that is safe for swimming & bodyboarding and is being monitored by lifeguards. There will be two of these and the area in-between is the place to swim. If these are taken away this indicates that the lifeguard team are no longer monitoring that area and it is advisable to leave the water.
Black & White Flags - These are also put out by lifeguards but it is NOT safe to swim in this area. It is reserved for water sports such as surfing and windsurfing. There will be two of these and the area in-between them is the lifeguarded water sports zone.
... and how to spot (& escape) a rip current
A rip current, or 'Rip' is a strong, localised and narrow current of water which moves directly away from the shore. It cuts through the lines of breaking waves like a river running out to sea.
If your caught in a rip don't panic or exhaust yourself by trying to swim against the flow of water. A rip current won't pull you under the water it will simply carry floating objects out to sea.
To escape the rip...
Swim across the current, parallel to the shore, in either direction, until out of the rip current (which is usually not very wide). Once out of the rip, swimming back to shore is relatively easy in areas where waves are breaking.
Cold water shock happens when you body is plunged quickly into cold water. You have reduced control over your breathing and a tendency to gasp. The first instinct is to swim hard and fast (or thrash about) this is a mistake and increases the likelihood that you will drown.
The best thing to do in this situation is to simply float. Lie back, spread your arms and legs out, push your stomach up and float. Wait for your breathing to return to normal. Then you will be in a better position to swim to safety.